Onomichi 尾道 is literally translated as “tail road”
After we touched down in Hiroshima Airport, we drove directly to the southwest Honshu, a small town called Onomichi. This is a hilly port city which is famous due to a famous drama called 東京物語 (Tokyo Monogatari) which was filmed here. And also well-known for it cats alley, hilly slopes, lemon and mandarin and onomichi ramen noodles.
Onomichi 尾道 is literally translated as “tail road”, tucked into a coastal nook of the Seto Inland Sea (about halfway between Okayama and Hiroshima city), it is the point where the body of Honshu/main island of Japan whips up its tail.
Senkoji & Senkoji Park
There is cable car built in 1957 runs to a park atop of Mt Senjoji where you are able to see the view of spring cherry blossoms from the iconic Senkoji Temple, only cost few hundred yen (few USD dollar) to go up one way. As we are here during autumn, there is no cherry blossoms so we didn’t make it to the top of Senkoji Park. Best time to visit is during cherry blossom season from Mar to May.
We plan to have a little break in Onomichi and have our lunch here.
Onomichi Hondori Shopping Street
The Shopping street also known as “Shotengai”/ (商店街) in Japanese in the heart of Onomichi town center. “Shotengai”/ (商店街) is a style of Japanese commercial district running along a certain street and it often connect to the nearest train station. The “Shotengai”/ (商店街) usually is covered arcades and only for pedestrian, not for any vehicles to pass by.
As it was still early in the morning on a Sunday morning, many shops are about to open and some are still closed. It usually has more people than this when it gets lunch time hour.
The Onomichi Shotengai is full of interesting shops, cafe, restaurant which are mixed of both new and old idea decoration. This is a classic Showa Era shopping street, covered with semitransparent ceiling in case for rainy days.
When you travel in Japan, you will notice the pet boom as many kept dog as ‘companion animal’. Japan has become a pet superpower I think, many kept the dog like their baby. They would carry the dog like a baby and walk around in the street, their dogs also wear fancy clothes, hat and spectacles.
When you walk in Onomichi Shotengai, do observe all the interesting decoration in front of each shop.
Many of the trinkets are painted with faces of cat and pig.
Antique coffee maker is in front of the coffee shop.
Despite the small size of Onomichi, this town has a surprisingly developed coffee culture. Onomichi serve good coffee.
Onomichi is famous for Lemons & Mandarin
Onomichi is famous for lemons and mandarins as plenty were harvested from surrounding islands in the Seto Inland Sea.
You will notice most of the food such as cake, bread, cookies, jelly or crackers – lemon and oranges are added in.
Japanese omiyage is a gift or souvenir to bring back for friends and coworkers after returning from a trip. The Omiyage boxes are brightly colored, wrap in beautiful Japanese wrapping paper and contain individually wrapped snacks. I do adore these omiyage at the shelf but I find them not environmental friendly so refuse to buy any.
Lemon & Mandarin Jelly from Innoshima
This cute jelly cost 180 yen ( USD 1.60) is worth to try out and best to eat after chill. The jelly has got the lemon taste and there are fresh “mikan” / mandarin inside. This is one of the must try in this region as you get to see this selling almost everywhere.
Calbee prawn cracker also added lemon flavor into their special edition over here. The small packet cost 165 yen (USD $1.45)
Bakery shops are amazing!
Japanese bakery shop is one stop you cannot missed while in Japan. Japanese bakery is great and their dessert is even better! Basically anywhere in Japan you will find nice bakery, don’t have to be in Onomich.
Lemon Tart is the Meibutsu (名物) /”famous thing” in Onomichi
I found lemon are also added to most of the bakery here. I have bought one lemon tart (below) to try out. Cost 200 yen ( USD 1.75). The lemon tart here is very famous and must try in Onomichi. Special “famous thing” is called “Meibutsu”/(名物).
Onomichi Cat Town
Onomichi boost heaven for cat lovers after one of the project went viral with images of cats and short biographies of these cats. There are also cat alleys through the town. So expect to see some of the “omiyage”/souvenirs are with cats packaging. (See below)
The bento lunch box selling here are cheap, around 500 yen (USD 4.50) which include variety of dishes, chicken, eggs and fishes. If you want something not noodles and cheap, you can always go for bento.
Onomichi Shukaen (朱華園)
Shukaen (朱華園) is a popular place for ramen in Onomichi, before 11 am, the queue is already so long. As time are very precious to us, we went in for another shop across the street also serving ramen.
Onomichi Ramen – Must try in Onomichi!
We ordered Soy sauce ramen. The ramen “dashi”/soup stock is made using chicken bones and small fish from the Seto Inland Sea with clear soy sauce base. The ramen has a big slice of chashu/bbq pork not in red color like the one we have in Singapore. Their chashu (only 1 big slice) is without the red coloring. There are also bamboo shoots and green onion serve as topping.
Husband and wife behind the counter making ramen noodles & kyoza dumplings.
Menu in Japanese
Signature Dish : Onomichi Shoyu Ramen = Onomichi Soy Sauce Ramen 600 yen ( USD $.5.30)
The Onomichi Shoyu Ramen tasted super yummy!
Yakisoba 750 yen (USD 6.60)
Compare to Onomichi Shoyu Ramen, yakisoba does not taste as great. My vote still go to Onomichi Shoyu Ramen. Big chucks of chashu/bbq pork, cabbages, carrots and black fungus are added.
Kyoza – Fried Dumpling 400yen (USD 3.50)
Another highly recommeded dish is the kyoza/fried dumplings. It has 6 pcs and fresh and well pan-fried.
Parking in Onomichi
There is a multi storey car park near Onomich town center, just 3 mins walk to Onomichi Hondori Shopping Street. The parking fees aren’t too expensive, we paid for 210 yen (USD $ 1.85) for slightly more than an hour.
Take your ticket upon entrance. Then you can pay at the machine when you exit. Just insert the money, usually 1,000 yen (USD 8.85) notes or coin into this yellow machine. You can also insert coins.
We parked at the rooftop as there are only 2 or 3 spaces left. It was around 10.30 am plus and glad we are here early. I notice the car park was full when we made our way out to the car park to find our lunch. We are the last 3 cars that made it to the car park.
Parking space in Japan Onomich
Not too narrow and quite manageable.
View from the car park rooftop
You get to see the whole seaport from the top of the car park rooftop.
If you get the bento/lunch set, you can sit down near the seaport and have your meals right in front of the water as there are plenty of tables and chairs available.
There is no elevator in this car park so you have to climb up, anyway there are only 3 storey.
Onomichi is a small quiet town before entering to Shikoku island. We have a brief stop here for lunch. Onomichi ramen is a must try food while in Onomichi. The other things you may notice are lemon and mandarins are added into most of the snacks here. Best souvenirs to buy back are anything with lemon and mandarin, such as lemon tart and lemon jelly. Onomichi is also famous for it cat alley as the Cat Street View project went viral many years ago. The Cat Street View project focus on local tourism and you get to see from the perspective of a cat aka cat view/eye level.